Myanmar Schools Project (MSP)
Myanmar Schools Project is our sister charity in the United States. Founded in 2006 by Steve Armstrong and Duke McElroy, MSP builds schools and medical clinics in impoverished communities in Myanmar. Roger Brain met Duke and Steve in 2008 and joined their travels and efforts in Myanmar.
Steve ordained as a Buddhist monk for five years in Burma under the guidance of Sayadaw U Pandita at the Mahasi Meditation Center in Yangon (Rangoon). He has been leading meditation retreats internationally since 1990 and in 1995 founded, along with Kamala Masters, the Vipassana Metta Foundation which is creating a dhamma sanctuary on Maui where they live.
Duke lives on Maui with his wife, Sharon. They have created and supported educational opportunities for students both within the US and abroad. Their program “Dream West” assisted youth to complete high school and go on to college. Their belief that education is the way out of poverty fuels their enthusiasm for MSP’s projects in Myanmar.
Roger retired as Senior Vice President of Teck Corporation in 2006 and since then has served on the boards of a financial institution and a green energy company. He visited Myanmar for the first time in 2009 and wanted to find a way to help the children. He now visits annually, overseeing the much needed construction and renovation of schools throughout the country, especially in rural areas. He believes the practice of generosity makes us all happier.
Over the years, MSP has built many schools and clinics in Myanmar.
2015 MSP Projects
In 2015, MSP built two schools in the Kalaw area plus several school projects in the Belin area.
Ywa Daw School
As of mid-May 2015, this new 120′ x 30′ school in the village of Ywa Daw is finished.
Since the rains have subsided, Ernest Singh and his crew been constructing another new 120′ x 30′ school in the village of Kamparni. They will soon begin to paint this school.
2014 MSP Projects
Chaung Ni Poke Medical Clinic in the Kalaw area
Taung Myay Char 50′ x 20′ Teacher’s Cottage
Chaung Ni Poke Water Project
Nan Yoke School
MSP built a new 120′ x 30’school in the Kalaw hills.
Pin Mei Health Centre
Under the able guidance and hands of contractor Ernest Singh, this new health clinic in the Kalaw hills was constructed in late 2014.
2013 MSP Projects
A Dream Come True: Paw Nie Yar Thit School
In 2013, MSP completed a small school in Paw Nie Yar Thit, a village of 500 people with 95 houses. Seventy-four students were being schooled in the local monastery but a fine flat field with a huge tree beside the monastery had been donated for a new building. When we visited, we reached the village on foot because our car could not navigate the huge hole that had opened in the road over the last few days. The entire village came out to greet us, the teenagers in traditional dress, the children in such school uniforms as they had, the parents and grandparents smiling, hopeful and welcoming. There was also a band. After songs and a formal welcome and a tour of the proposed site, we were taken to the Head Man’s house for a lavish meal. He told us that this new school had been the dream of the village for many years.
MORE PROJECTS in 2013:
In 2013, MSP also built a medical clinic at Taung Lar and a new school building at Taung Myay Char. Another large school project, a 120′ x 30′ building, was completed at Hta Naung Daing.
Taung Lar Clinic
Taung Myay Char School
Taung Myay Char, near Heho, has 300 houses and a primary school with over 200 children. Present school conditions are not good, with grade five children being taught in the teacher’s house and the three teachers living in squalid conditions. MSP has now constructed a new 3 room school there in the second half of 2013.
Hta Naung Daing School
There is a great need for new school buildings to replace the aging ones in Hta Naung Daing. In late summer 2013, MSP started construction of a new 120′ x 30′ school here.
Construction of the new building :
2012 MSP Projects
Pan Lone School, in the Kalaw Hills
The hillsides around Kalaw are beautiful tea-growing country. Many tourists come here for trekking. We travel to the more remote villages by motor bike. Each school we build serves several villages.
In 2012, MSP constructed a small school for 60 to 90 children in Pan Lone, a very poor village. There are two teachers. Visiting Pan Lone requires a ride on the back of a motorcycle for half an hour after a two hour bounce down the main road in the back of a truck.
Myin Ka Paw Clinic
In 2012, MSP constructed a medical clinic in Myin Ka Paw which is approximately 2 hours by car and motor bike from Kalaw. The vistas are spectacular. This village of the Toung-yoe people is very remote and has 250 people who walk with 60 children about 1 mile away to a temporary school. However, the village is centrally located and the clinic services approximately 16 villages with a total population of 1600 people. It is staffed by a mid-wife who is trained and paid by the government. The villagers bought sand, brick and stones for the clinic and were more than willing to provide their labor to help build the clinic.